Monday, September 16, 2019

FIVE PRACTICAL SELF-CARE TIPS FOR YOUTH ATHLETES

From dealing with pressure on social media, to balancing academics, sports, and extracurricular activities, teenagers are under more stress than ever.
Amy Saltzman, MD, author of A Still Quiet Place for Athletes, believes that athletes who practice mindfulness develop a more balanced approach to self-care, which ultimately helps them achieve peak performance in sport and in life.
According to Saltzman, “Being mindful means simply being aware of what is happening here and now with kindness and curiosity, so that we can choose our behaviors.” She adds that young athletes who “bring kind and curious attention to all aspects of their health and well-being have an advantage in learning what works best for them during training, competition, and in life.”
Saltzman, a long-time athlete herself, explains that “in the long run, it’s up to young athletes to learn from coachesparentsnutritionists, athletic trainers, sport-specific articles and books, and most importantly their own bodies, and develop and refine the self-care routines that create the opportunity to perform at their best.”
With that in mind, Saltzman shares five scientifically proven self-care habits athletes can practice to improve their physical health and maximize their ability to compete at their best. 

Prioritize rest

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, getting extra sleep over an extended period of time improves athletic performance, mood, and alertness.
Saltzman says, “Oftentimes in sports, young athletes are encouraged to push beyond their perceived limits to progress, but pushing too hard and too often can result in injury and physical, mental, and emotional burnout.”
Overtraining doesn’t help anyone. Creating and actively implementing a proper rest and recovery schedule can prevent young athletes from reaching the brink of burnout and injury. By avoiding unhealthy extremes and prioritizing rest, you can help your athlete improve their physical and mental capacity

Make healthier food choices

It’s essential to the development of young athletes to fuel their bodies with well-balanced meals of nutrient-rich foods instead of processed foods. In addition to preventing major health issues like osteoporosis, diabetes, and heart disease, healthier, whole foods develop their brain function.
Saltzman encourages young athletes to “bring their kind and curious attention to what they eat, how they eat, and how their body feels after they eat.” Over time they can take note of which foods complement their physical exercise and build a meal plan around the foods that help their body function at its best.
In general, Saltzman notes that athletes’ “bodies will function best if they eat natural foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, milk, cheese, and eggs.”

Drink more water

Saltzman reports that “research shows that exercise performance is impaired when an athlete is dehydrated by as little as 2 percent of body weight. When the athlete loses an excess of 5 percent of body weight, their performance capacity is decreased by about 30 percent.”
Encouraging your young athletes to properly hydrate is essential to their athletic performance and, more importantly, to their overall health and well-being.
Saltzman adds, “It’s especially important for athletes to be aware and properly hydrate when they’re traveling, competing in hot or humid climates, or at altitude.” 

Focus on conditioning

Youth sports offer athletes a place to improve their bodies’ overall performance and physical capacity. Not all conditioning has to be sport-specific.
Saltzman explains, “Young athletes can benefit by adding age-appropriate, developmentally-paced strength, speed, endurance, flexibility, and core strength to their exercise routines. And if young athletes do these activities mindfully (being present and discerningly aware of how their bodies feel, rather than just going through the motions), they will increase their physical, mental, and emotional strength, endurance, and flexibility.”
This self-awareness gives athletes a keen sense of when their bodies need to rest and recover, or hone in on where they need to dig deeper. 

Develop game day routines

For young athletes, game day often requires the parent shuttle or a school bus ride to the game. According to Saltzman, “It is wise for young athletes to develop a game day travel routine that allows them to arrive physically, mentally, and emotionally ready to compete at their best.”
Saltzman recommends athletes create routines that will help them be prepared for game day by:
  • Creating a detailed game day packing list
  • Having healthy snacks and plenty of water on hand for travel
  • Developing a mental preparation habit, such as listening to music, practicing mindfulness, or visualizing their ideal performance during the game
Saltzman concludes, “Athletes who are actively paying attention to their health and preparation are less likely to suffer from burnout, overuse injuries, overtraining, adrenal insufficiency, and chronic fatigue syndrome.”
Help your young athletes develop a stronger mindset to deal with the stresses of sport and daily life by introducing self-care strategies and encouraging them to practice them daily. 
About TrueSport
TrueSport®, a movement powered by the experience and values of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, champions the positive values and life lessons learned through youth sport. TrueSport inspires athletes, coaches, parents, and administrators to change the culture of youth sport through active engagement and thoughtful curriculum based on cornerstone lessons of sportsmanship, character-building, and clean and healthy performance, while also creating leaders across communities through sport.
For more expert-driven articles and materials, visit TrueSport’s comprehensive LEARN resource.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Munro...A Lacrosse Weekend 9.7.19

A Lacrosse Weekend 9.7.19

Uncategorized Sep 08, 2019
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Welcome to "A Lacrosse Weekend" my weekly compilation of thoughts, ideas, stories, myths, truths, about the great game of lacrosse. I hope you enjoy it!
Phi-Lacrosse-ophy Podcast with Richmond Head Coach Dan Chemotti
This is a great listen!  Coach Chemotti is a class act, has a history of winning, and when you hear his story and who his mentors are, you will understand why.  A product of West Genee and Duke, Dan had coaching stops at Dartmouth, St Johns and Loyola where he was part of the 2012 National championship team. In six years The Spiders have won the league 3 times and been to three NCAA Tournaments!  
Why Coaches Education Doesn't Work
Many coaches are un-coachable.  I hate to say it, but it's true.  Over the years I have spent a ton of time with coaches, talking lacrosse, watching film, drawing up the x's and o's, inviting them to practices.... and they literally never get better!  The reason some coaches never get better is all they do is look for the things they already do to get validation for what they do.  Confirmation that they know what they're doing.  
Let's flip this approach its head, shall we?
What if, like a scientist you spent time trying to understand thing things that don't resonate with you, concepts that are counter intuitive, and try to disprove that which believe to be right or true?  Search through the concepts that do not believe in, things that you do not do and see if in fact they could make a difference.
In the JM3 Coaches Training Program is the deepest and richest content resource on the internet and we have a ton of coaches who subscribe!  I challenge all coaches in our program (and myself!) as well as coaches not in our program to "Flip your approach on its head" and start looking to disprove what you do, what you believe, and dive into the counterintuitive in an attempt to get better!
Isolated Skill Development Slows Down Player Development
The quote below is from a world renowned soccer coach Raymond Verheijen.  Raymond was referenced in the podcast I did last week with Ted Kroeten from Joy of The People.  This quote comes from a blog where Verheijen states that isolated skills training will actually slow down player development.   
For many this is blasphemy!
This is why free play works better than structure.  The key to being a great player isn't about how  good your skill is,  but rather your ability to process what's happening, make a decision, and then execute a skill.  Further, there are no two scenarios that are exactly the same.
The reason Isolated Skill Work can slow development is because you're NOT working on reading the play, making decisions and using a skill.  It's a matter of opportunity cost.  Especially if the coach is repping a skill that the athlete already knows how to do!   
As many of you know, I'm passionate about Free Play as the best model to get better.  For many folks, they'll say, "Yeah, yeah, I agree, Free Play is great." but then they go right back to the private lessons, the high level club practices and there is a huge opportunity cost!
I am a student of this game and a coach.   I believe in coaching and I believe there is a place for sharpening skills through reps, but the more I look at the athletes I work with or teams I coach not playing to their potential, it is more about the processing of what's happening and subsequent decision (or indecision!) making than the actual skills themselves.  Think back games your teams have lost, or games your son/daughter played in where they didn't perform: if they had executed the skills in the game that they execute regularly in practice or private lessons... outcomes would be different.  Right?  
Want To Get Better?
There are those who say things like, "all you need to do is play wall ball and everything will work out."  In The JM3 Academy we teach our students how to use all  of their resources to get better.  We have created academies for boys and girls, attack / Midfield, defense, and goalie.  The content is deeper than you can imagine and is continually updated!
  • Video Content: is critical for learning and understanding skills and concepts.  We all love to watch the best players in the world play lacrosse!  Understanding what and why they do what they do can make us better!
  • By yourself: wall ball, bounce back, shooting, footwork.  Working on your game by yourself can help you sharpen skills and improve "Accuracy" of skills, but beware, there is major diminishing-returns-factor in isolated skills training.  I'm not saying it's always a waste of time, but I am saying if done too much, it becomes a waste of time!  And I would add this: never choose these exercises over playing with and against other players.
  • With a friend: 1v1's  Working on dodging and defending with a friend a great way to become better at your 1v1's!   Cones don't don't cross check you and try to stop you from scoring!   By practicing 1v1's in multiple scenarios against a defender will help you process your environment (how the defender is playing you, where on the field you are), make decisions, and summon a particular skill.  Beware that too much 1v1 work has diminishing returns too!  The key is to be able to dodge in games where there are sliders and adjacent defenders trying to stop you!  The ability to recognize not only your man but the help, to manipulate the help, and make decisions is the bigger key. 
  • Shooting on a Goalie: many players work on their shooting every day by shooting on empty nets and what they're really working on is staring down their shot which is the opposite of deceptive shooting.  I didn't really learn how to shoot until I became an assistant coach and warmed up goalies every day.  Most coaches will tell you the same thing!  The ability to control goalies with our body language is the biggest key to shooting.  You simply can't learn this shooting on empty nets.  Oh, and un-learning telegraphed shooting habits can be the hardest thing!
  • IQ Video and quiz: part of this model is to teach athletes the X's and O's of the game of lacrosse.  Most players know their role, but it's important to know the other side of the ball as well as everyone's role in the offense, defense, and special teams situations.
  • Pick up games: by far the best thing you can do for your game is Free Play!  You have to look at this like putting money in a savings account.  There is no getting around it, you won't gain the type of fluency in processing your surroundings and decision making any other way.  
Watch the video below and look at how many decisions are being made!  With ball decisions, off ball decision, defensive decisions, skill choice decisions and more!  This is the miracle of Free Play!

 Below is a pretty funny Free Play ground ball battle on the grass.  It was a little egregious, but everybody was right back into the game!  

Have a great weekend!

Munro - A Lacrosse Weekend



Welcome to "A Lacrosse Weekend" my weekly compilation of thoughts, ideas, stories, myths, truths, about the great game of lacrosse. I hope you enjoy it
I think you will love This week's blog! It has some awesome ideas, concepts and videos that will be fun and interesting to watch!
This week we talk about:
  • A new podcast with Richmond Head Coach, Dan Chemotti
  • Why Coaches Education doesn't always work
  • Isolated Skills Training can actually slow down development
  • A development model that will teach every variation of every skill, plus X's and O's!
  • Somebody getting blown up in a pick up game!
Have a great weekend!